Goosebumps

"Good"

Goosebumps Review


Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package, this lively romp is entertaining enough to amuse the audience even when it veers off the rails. It helps that Jack Black is on board, giving one of his more energetically charged performances, and that the script peppers scenes with smart gags. But an over-reliance on big special effects weakens the movie's big climax, and the breathless pace is sometimes exhausting.

Black plays Stein himself, a reclusive author and over-protective father who lives in a small town with his daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush). Then single mother Gale (Amy Ryan) moves in next door with her teen son Zach (Dylan Minette), who is immediately intrigued by Hannah. Despite Stein's warnings, Zach and his new school friend Champ (Ryan Lee) sneak into the house to find out more, opening one of the novelist's manuscripts in the process. Out pops an abominable snowman, who proceeds to wreak havoc in the town. And the next literary escapee, the sadistic ventriloquist's dummy Slappy, is even worse. He sets about releasing all of Stein's fictional monsters into the real world, unleashing chaos on a massive scale. But Zach has an idea that may stop the mayhem.

Screenwriter Darren Lemke and director Rob Letterman have a great time bringing the maximum level of pandemonium to this small town, with a range of outrageous creatures that are both comical and scary. These are rendered in rather obvious digital animation, including a gang of militarised garden gnomes, a slimy blob, zombies, werewolves and a gigantic praying mantis. But the cartoonish sheen is undercut intriguingly by some genuinely tense moments, mainly because Slappy is properly menacing. Black provides Slappy's gleefully sinister voice while hamming it up on-screen as Stein. Minette and Rush are fine as the usual bland youthful heroes with a cute hint of romance between them. And more textured acting is provided in small roles by Ryan, Jillian Bell (as Gale's airhead sister) and Ken Marino (as a lovelorn colleague).

While the film spirals through its awkward mix of silliness and horror, everything is so toned down for a family audience that the suspense never builds to much, and the story's clever message is watered down to insignificance. As the nuttiness builds into an unnecessarily bloated final action sequence, viewers have little to do but sigh and hope the chaos ends quickly. So while it's just about entertaining enough, and the filmmakers have manipulated the material to leave the door open for a sequel, it's difficult to look forward to another movie like this.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Goosebumps:



Goosebumps

Facts and Figures

Genre: Kids/Family

Run time: 103 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th October 2015

Budget: $58M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures, Original Film, Scholastic Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Fresh: 80 Rotten: 30

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Neal H. Moritz, Deborah Forte

Starring: as R.L. Stine, as Zach Cooper, Odeya Rush as Hannah, as Gale, as Lorraine, as Champ, as Coach Carr, as Taylor, as Anna, as Foreman, as Officer Stevens, Amanda Lund as Officer Brooks, Steven Krueger as Davidson, Karan Soni as Mr. Rooney, as Mayor, Kevin Galbraith as Ghoul, Keith Arthur Bolden as Principal Garrison, Benjamin Papac as Seth, R.L. Stine as Mr. Black, Nate Andrade as Monster #1, John Bernecker as Will Blake, Sheldon Brown as Monster #2, Melissa Brewer as Monster #3, Marshall Choka as Murder the Clown, Melissa Cowan as Ghoul, John Deifer as Professor Shock, Everett Dixon as Monster #7, Brian Gabriel as Monster #8, Maryann Gorka as Monster #10, Clare Halstead as Carly Beth, Devin Hampton as Monster #12, Rory Healy as Count Nightwing, Drew Lamkins as Lord High Executioner, Vivian Kyle as Snake Lady, Katie Lumpkin as Creep #1, Charlie Leach as Monster #15, Larry Mainland as Ghoul, Lucky Mangione as Creep #2, Justin Natic as Ghoul, Josh Phillips as Cronby, Mickie Pollock as Madame Doom, Steve Quinn as Captain Long Ben One-Leg, Ashley Jo Sizemore as Ghoul, Jeff Tenney as Monster #24, Jennifer Trudrung as Ghoul, Ashton Lee Wolden as Monster #26, Coleman Youmans as Ghoul

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.